This French bakery was a hit in Canada. Now its first U.S. spot is open in Miami Beach

The St. Honore cake is a specialty at Les Moulins La Fayette bakery in Miami Beach.

When you need a caffeine pick-me-up with a bite, head to Les Moulins La Fayette bakery and pastry cafe. It takes its name from the French-born hero of the American Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, and here, America and France remain allies in bread and freedom.

The fast-casual spot on Lincoln Road has glass cases filled with jewel-like small desserts, Euro-style sandwiches (no mayo or mustard) and the front window is a treasure trove of pastries, croissants, pain au chocolate and muffins.

French owner Vincent Poudras grew up in the restaurant his parents ran in Normandy and opened his first La Fayette in the America, here, eight months ago. (His family owns what became the small chain of La Fayette bakeries in Canada.)

Here, French-grown wheat is milled on site and French cultured butter is used for top quality pastries that don’t cost a fortune. It hums along all day into evening with friendly service and the cream puffs of your dreams.

Start With These Dishes

French bakery
An assortment of pastries from Les Moulins La Fayette French bakery in Miami BeachLinda Bladholm

If it’s a loaf of artisanal bread you’re after, come early. They go fast. Choose from a selection of breakfast loaves and baguettes, including the Lafayette baguette, with sea salt, which proofs 48 hours for a sourdough tang.

In the morning you’ll want a café au lait, espresso or latte and the toasted breakfast bun with scrambled eggs, cheddar, ham and bacon. Or get a Danish-like pain au raisin with pastry cream, chocolate croissant or elephant ear-shaped palmier. There’s also danoise canella (cinnamon rolls), dulce de leche muffins and chausson aux pommes (apple turn overs) and buttery brioche balls stuffed with Nutella.

Coming for lunch? Try the ham and Swiss croissant or a slice of spinach and goat cheese quiche, both best heated.

Share These Dishes and Desserts

French bakery
Fresh baked bread using French flour and cultured butter are the hallmarks to Les Moulins La Fayette French bakery in Miami Beach.

Bring a friend and share halves of tuna salad on six-grain house-baked bread. Antipasti comes with salami, chorizo, prosciutto, parmesan and mozzarella with olive oil on a baguette. There are a host of sandwiches on house-made bread, including a six-grain panini with ham, brie and bacon; a turkey breast on curry poppy seed bread with honey and Swiss; and pastrami on sun-dried tomato bread.

Order a selection of petite desserts to share. Include a slice of Floridian cake with layers of chocolate, almond and orange, covered in fondant and topped with candied orange peel. There’s also St. Honore cake, named after the French patron saint of pastry chefs, which sandwiches piped pastry cream between puff pastry. The liberty pie holds blackberries in almond cream between crusts.

The Paris-Brest is wheel-shaped and made from two airy rings of choux pastry held together with fluffy hazelnut-almond praline cream. You’ll want the whole thing for yourself, so get an extra one boxed to go along with a bag of shortbread cookies with crystalized bits of maple syrup.

Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade county. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review. For more Hidden Gems visit Miami.

Les Moulins La Fayette bakery

211 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach